Now is the time to seize opportunities in Haiti: Sean Penn

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Secretary-General greets Sean Penn (Haiti – 14/03/2010 UN Photo/Sophia Paris)

Now is the time to seize opportunities in Haiti, a nation which can provide incredible value to other countries as well as to itself, especially by virtue of its private sector.

The view was expressed by Sean Penn, CEO & Founder of the J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO).

Speaking at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC, Penn stressed the remarkable progress Haiti has made since the fateful earthquake in 2010, and called on the international community to continue its  support to the Caribbean nation as it experiences a rebirth of sorts.

He said Haitians are ready and willing to be the soldiers of change, adding that "We need to identify them, work with them and be willing to accept their guidance". Speaking three years on from the earthquake, Penn admitted that while there is no perfect response to a disaster, the key is for organizations to work together. Nothing happens without partnerships, he stated.

Arriving in Haiti a week after the earthquake with the sole objective of distributing morphine and ketamine to emergency trauma units within the country, Penn initially expected to stay for just two weeks. But as the tide began to turn and the emergency relief organizations began to leave, he decided to stay, working with local Haitians to build J/P HRO. J/P HRO is dedicated to saving lives and bringing sustainable programs to the Haitian people quickly and effectively. J/P HRO works with both government and non-government agencies to deliver immediate results where the need is greatest.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’28″

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January 2018
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